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The Renku Sessions: Timber Smoke – Week 19


Greetings and welcome to The Haiku Foundation’s current Renku Session entitled, ‘Timber Smoke’. I am Marshall Hryciuk of Toronto, Canada and I will be leading this session through a 36-link kasen renku.


Hope everybody is having a happy holiday season. Amid all the merriment, we have our first ‘love’ verse:


her scent
on the pillow
the morning after

Andrew Shimield


Simple and evocative at the same time. A particular spatial experience leading to an expansive temporal one. I also appreciate that ‘from the outside’ three red flags would go up with this verse, but if we participate in it as readers who are linking, they all light up green,

First,”scent” was used in the hokku -but that was 18 verses ago. And this one is most personal and not in motion, and, we haven’t had anything olfactory since.

Secondly, “the morning after”, especially if it had been used as a first line, could have created a break, a kireji, and put a halt to our renku’s continued energy. By placing it as the third line, where, falling, it combines with the repeat of the “the” (2 ‘the’s’ in a link would have been the third red flag) mimics the mental motion of remembering the past while being in the present; re-presents the night before. That the fabric of the pillow holds the stimulus for this mental activity links very well with “prom gown” while the whole verse fulfills a more general expectation implicit in the previous one. Completion and relay.

Thank-you very much, Andrew Shimield


So, to link with that we need another love, unrequited love or yearning verse that’s 2 lines; keeping out flowers, blossoms and anything to do with the moon.


Happy linking



Timber Smoke (so far)


nothing dimmed yet
timber smoke scent
sifts into the house

Marshall Hryciuk


one by one
I pick plums off of the ground

Alfred Booth


a file of cars
overtaking a tractor
on the mountain road

Keith Evetts


drawn out deer notes
echo in the coolness

Betty Shropshire


even paler
than the clearing fog
day moon

Mary White


handprints  and crumbs
I would miss them

Pamela Garry


giving pollen
a lift
on the bicycle bells

Laurie Greer


the tiffany blue
of 3 eggs in a nest

Eavonka Ettinger


scattered spores
following a random trail
through landmines

John Hawkhead


attempted murder
by the morality police

Rob Barkan


next door’s dog
at our snowman

Carol Jones


the mailman’s breath
faintly white

Keith Evetts


Jacques Brel singing
“in the port of Amsterdam”
on the radio

Alfred Booth and Marshall Hryciuk


a whirligig of leaves
sweeps the deck clean

Wendy C. Bialek


evening begins
with a gift of opal

Marion Clarke


beachcombers trade shells
as the tide comes in

Jonathan Alderfer


a morning glory
the hummingbird

madeleine kavanaugh


stepping from the change room
in her prom gown

Laurie Greer


her scent
on the pillow
the morning after

Andrew Shimield




The Haiku Foundation reminds you that participation in our offerings assumes respectful and appropriate behavior from all parties. Please see our Code of Conduct policy:

This Post Has 182 Comments

  1. her scent
    on the pillow
    the morning after
    ———Andrew Shimield
    the river carries the sky
    to the sea

  2. her scent
    on the pillow
    the morning after
    — Andrew Shimield

    working out
    unmoored fertility

  3. her scent
    on the pillow
    the morning after
    ———Andrew Shimield

    under sheets of rain
    a long goodbye

  4. couldn’t resist…

    “…my Beloved
    comes leaping over the mountains…”

    Song of Solomon 2:8

  5. her scent
    on the pillow
    the morning after
    — Andrew Shimield

    paddle board à deux
    four feet connect with sea swells

  6. A Happy New Year, dear renku community.

    for the first time he stops
    at a jewelry store window

    a lighter bounce
    in his walk today

    waiting to see
    who texts first

  7. her scent
    on the pillow
    the morning after
    ———Andrew Shimield

    on a contrail
    nobody knows

  8. our last kiss at the door
    as she leaves for rehearsals

    he tries not to ask
    if the earth moved for her

  9. edited to:

    breaking up on the phone
    his marriage proposal

    their Siamese cat Sayōnara
    fights for joint custody

  10. her scent
    on the pillow
    the morning after
    ———Andrew Shimield

    book of shunga prints
    soft laughter and warm rain

    two lovers in cloud mist
    holding hands

  11. some vows
    break easier than twigs

    faking a heart attack
    to see if she still loves me

    somehow a broken heart
    keeps beating

  12. her scent
    on the pillow
    the morning after

    Andrew Shimield
    the course of love runs smooth
    when carved in a beech tree

  13. Congratulations, Andrew, on the verse.
    her scent
    on the pillow
    the morning after
    –Andrew Shlmield

    awakening to
    a new year of regrets

  14. somehow her dance moves
    keep getting better

    gracias mi amor for finishing
    my sentences for me

    she’s spent a fortune
    on rosary beads

    our 47th anniversary
    was yesterday

  15. Well done, Andrew.
    her scent
    on the pillow
    the morning after
    Andrew Shimield
    dick pics just don’t feel dirty
    how many legs
    does this octopus have?!
    feathers fly
    with the crow of the cock

    1. princess k, you likely know all this . . . Japanese ukiyo-e prints that involve octopus and women were often highly erotic. The print Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife (1814) by Hokusai is a beautiful and famous example. Interestingly, the Wikipedia entry has a translation of the explicit text on the print that I had never seen before.,History%20and%20description,the%20limbs%20of%20two%20octopuses.

  16. Well done, Andrew.

    her scent
    on the pillow
    the morning after

    Andrew Shimield

    a tee-shirt with a ❤️
    hung out to dry


    signed and witnessed
    copies of the prenup

  17. mierda she sometimes calls me
    which sounds more poetic than shit

    her favorite hobby
    feeding apples to burros

    listening to roosters
    sitting beside us on the bus

  18. together we hover, glide
    and sometimes even soar

    she’s often on the roof
    holding nails in her mouth

    sometimes I wish I’d
    married her sister instead

  19. her scent
    on the pillow
    the morning after
    ———Andrew Shimield

    a woman sifts the sea
    for lost companions

    the lovely form
    of a shifting sandbar

    a dragon tattoo prowls
    beneath her silk kimono

    1. wow! i can see it….. jonathan inspired:

      w A v e S & w A v e S
      of sHIFTINg SANDbars

  20. Something in the way she moves,
    attracts me like no other lover (Beatles)

    Oh, my love, my darling,
    I’ve hungered for your touch (Righteous Brothers)

    1. Hey Dan-
      Raven hair and ruby lips
      Sparks fly from her fingertips
      Echoed voices in the night
      She’s a restless spirit on an endless flight

  21. her scent
    on the pillow
    the morning after

    ———Andrew Shimield

    Happy New Year 2024
    prayers soar

  22. her scent
    on the pillow
    the morning after

    ———Andrew Shimield

    still talking about war
    very sad

    1. Angel, this is a lovely poem. If you can get away with out using any punctuation in haiku, I understand that it is a good thing. I remember Marshall saying words to the effect at the beginning of the Renku Sessions, last August. I don’t think you need the commas and the periods aren’t necessary, either. I like that you didn’t capitalize “fragrance” at the beginning of the first line. The “of” at the beginning of the second line doesn’t need to be capitalized, as well:) I really like the air of mystery in your poem. Very nice :)

    1. Keith,
      The pharmacist in me loves this Plan B verse. Clever, well done. I am envious that it didn’t occur to me. It’s a winner!

      1. Thanks, Nan. We need more pharmaku, a neglected area as more of us queue for meds. I have:

        pharmacy queue the incurable gossips
        Failed Haiku issue 91 July 2023

        1. Keith,
          This is one I wrote long ago.

          placebo effect….
          Vicodin now in hand
          patient’s face changes to smile
          from Three Breaths

          like many haiku I could edit it

        2. I love your pharmacy queue the incurable gossips. It’s so true.

          waiting for Rx…
          national enquirer headline
          of miracle cure


  23. breaking up on the phone
    his proposal

    fighting for joint custody
    Sayōnara the Siamese cat

  24. a ménage à trois
    for his birthday

    his wife ran off
    with the other woman

    some lipstick on
    the stemware

    calling the number
    left on his flip phone

    dating apps

  25. her scent
    on the pillow
    the morning after
    ———Andrew Shimield
    her first word in English
    was Mastercard

    seasick together
    on an ox cart

    smiling each time she calls me
    son of a beech

    murder suicide pacts
    work better than vows

    1. “her first word in English
      was Mastercard”

      Hilarious, Dan! A welcome leavening of haikai humor…

  26. Lovely verse Andrew!
    her scent
    on the pillow
    the morning after
    ———Andrew Shimield

    no license required
    to drive me crazy

    we laugh at the maple leaves
    blushing overhead

    mon dieu! the heat
    from your fumarole heart

    clouds come and go
    over our heads

  27. her scent
    on the pillow
    the morning after

    Andrew Shimield
    sharing the dizziness
    of the whirlwind romance
    awaiting the spinoff
    from their whirlwind romance

  28. improvising
    they tickle the ivories

    fingers entwine
    during the pas de deux

    I am a latecomer to this party and not sure if I’ll stay or not but my goodness, what a beautiful renku this is shaping up to be. Thank you to all you dedicated poets and the Marshall’s exquisite curation. Happy New Year!

    1. thank you….liz…you have not lost a beat!
      Aren’t we all latecomers to party of life and love?
      and no one knows how long they will stick around!
      But what we make of the time we are here….you have aced it…with your two verses…and compliments …IMO!!!
      wishing you and all another year of being, dancing and playing, if that is the desire!

  29. andrew very nice one because it covers all kinds of love relationships–
    are you describing an everlasting love or a fleeting one nighter?

    thank you marshall once again for a great pick and explanation.

  30. Thank you Madeleine, Wendy, Carolyn, ill have to check out those books I’ve got a long ways to go I’m looking forward to the learning curve lol. By y way so we put multiple haiku suggestions for this one in particular I mean the renku session

    1. my goal and approach to this or any renku….is to enjoy and participate in helping to shape and create the body of the renku(in the form of offerings posted), which i will called a collaboration of verses. starting with the hokku being a haiku-like structure, with three lines and alternating thereafter with two and three line verses. each week when i read the new verse picked by our sabaki…this session it is marshall, i look for a way to link to it and shift away from it and present my posts accordingly… reading the instructions set forth in the commentary. they may include a specific season or not, and what ideas/words to focus on and /or things to avoid. have fun, angel!

  31. her scent
    on the pillow
    the morning after

    Andrew Shimield
    but always the question
    of will it last

  32. will you marry me
    as they plunge from plane

    exchanging glances
    over the kids heads

    my mountain of work
    fades with his daily text

  33. again a solid pick and relatable commentary by Marshall….thank you!!!

    congrats!!! Andrew…for a tender love verse and adding a great first love verse passing the middle point of our renku!

    her scent
    on the pillow
    the morning after

    Andrew Shimield

  34. another lovelorn message
    left on my voicemail

    the not-a-love note
    lacks a number

    already swiping
    for a lookalike

  35. she loves me
    but then again

    postponing a trip
    to the laundromat

    immortalized in
    the line of a renku

  36. her scent
    on the pillow
    the morning after

    Andrew Shimield
    under the clear blue sky
    birds chirped happily

      1. Just a few minor adjustments, Angel, Marshall will probably talk to you about… Wonderful thing about haiku is we never stop learning.

  37. I’m new here and new to everything related to haiku. So forgive me if I mess up. And congratulations to Andrew.

    Red dress
    Red Roof Inn
    Champagne ocean view

    1. Welcome, Angel. Don’t worry about messing up. It’s all part of the process. I think you will enjoy sharing your poetry here… You’re already off to a great start!

      1. Make the three lines into two lines… (this week it’s a wakiku) ….and it’s perfect. You can add the second line to the first

          1. Angel, a book that helps a lot, recommended by Carol Jones earlier in the sessions is “Renku Reckoner” by John Carley… Marshall’s explanations at the top of each session is very helpful and reading poems of previous weeks:)

          2. Thanks a bunch Madeleine I really appreciate it until I saw a video recently I didn’t even know about haiku it’s really interesting for some reason it just clicked in my head. Lol

          3. Angel, this is so wonderful to hear. I know you are going to love haiku. I think this book might help, as well: “The Haiku Handbook: How to Write, Share and Teach Haiku”, by William J Higginson and Penny Harter… I look forward to reading more of your poems :)

        1. yes, Madeleine, i agree that this week it is a two-liner….but look again at the book….”wakiku” the specific name given to verse two, (as my understanding in renku goes), occurs only once and that is in the immediate verse following the the hokku in any length renku.

    2. Welcome, Angel!
      The dialog entry box is tricky it can throw your last word into a new line. I’ve had to revise some poems so they fit. I’m not sure if they would be accepted so I redo them. And no capitalization of words

  38. a morning glory
    the hummingbird

    stepping from the change room
    in her prom gown

    her scent
    on the pillow
    the morning after
    the usual greetings at work
    everyone seems unreal
    a successful exit
    and make your own coffee
    tonight he’ll be glad he’s back
    doing his beastly duty

  39. her scent
    on the pillow
    the morning after

    Andrew Shimield
    wishing the dreamboats
    bon voyage and smooth sailing
    smooth sailing ahead
    with such a dream boat

  40. her scent
    on the pillow
    the morning after

    – Andrew Shimield

    a bloodhound’s howls heard
    through the crack of dawn

  41. her scent
    on the pillow
    the morning after
    —Andrew Shimield

    tripping over high-heals
    left behind

    opening shutters
    letting go

  42. Wonderful verse, Andrew! Thanks again, Marshall, for an inspired selection and illuminating comments.
    her scent
    on the pillow
    the morning after

    Andrew Shimield
    the soft glow of the ring
    on its bed of cotton
    the soft glow of a pair
    of new gold bands

  43. Congratulations Andrew for a beautiful poem full of love. It fits perfectly into the renku. Thank-you, Marshall for a wonderful explanation.

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